+ Old Roman Catholic Church + See of Cćr-Glow +
What is an Old Roman Catholic?
One can learn about the history and the beliefs of Old Roman Catholics elsewhere on this site. It may be more instructive to address the ideals which motivate Old Roman Catholics.
In The Earliest Days, the mission of the Church was toward the High Church Anglicans—people who perceived themselves as Catholics, but subject to the King of England and not the Pope of Rome. Subject to the King but not oblivious to the teaching authority of the Pope. To such people, the pronouncement of Pope Leo XIII that Anglican Holy Orders were invalid struck like a bombshell. Pope Leo wrote not just with papal authority, but also with unshakable logic. His words said that the Anglican clergy were not really priests and bishops, but merely laymen. For those who held Catholic beliefs, Leo's words were a portent of life without the Sacraments (other than Baptism and Matrimony, which the laity can confer). Among those Anglicans who were concerned, there grew a movement to obtain valid Holy Orders for those whom they had considered to be priests and bishops. Within the Church of England, assisted by a few Roman bishops, there arose an Order of Corporate Reunion, which in its early days (founded 1877) was rather secretive for fear of Low Church Anglican criticism of their efforts. Ordinations were conducted in secret, leaving the faithful unsure of just who was and who wasn't an actual priest or bishop.
A Roman priest, Arnold Harris Mathew, had been born of a mixed Catholic-Anglican marriage, studied and was ordained a Catholic priest. Mathew resolved to provide for the Sacramental needs of the Anglican faithful by receiving consecration (1908) as a bishop from the Archbishop of Utrecht in Holland, and establishing a visible church structure for like minded people in England. The theology, morality, and worship of this Church were to be strictly Catholic, while allowing for the vernacular worship and optionally married clergy to which the High Church party had grown accustomed since the time of Henry VIII. In 1910, Archbishop Mathew felt compelled to sever relations with the Archbishop of Utrecht, who had fallen in with the “Old Catholics” in denying the infallibility of the Pope and a number of other significant matters. Mathew adopted the name used by the Church of Utrecht before its fall from orthodoxy, “Old Roman Catholic.” Mathew's understanding of what it meant to be an Old Roman Catholic is, perhaps, best expressed in a prayer that he composed, and which we have featured on our home page.
Archbishop Mathew's efforts met with only moderate success in England and North America. Mathew had consecrated a bishop for the Americas before declaring autonomy from Utrecht, so some of the American congregations held a mixture of Catholic and Old Catholic ideas. Organizational unity was not a “long suit” of the Church, but it continued on where ever it could be useful.
Following the Second World War, during the pontificate of the saintly Pope Pius XII, the Old Roman Catholic hierarchy decided that the needs of the faithful would be best served by the mainstream Roman Church, without our efforts. The decision was made that no new priests would be ordained, no new parishes would be founded, and no bishops would be consecrated—the Church would gradually vanish through attrition—the assumption being that Roman priests and bishops would provide for the spiritual needs of all the faithful.
The Days Of Vatican II were hoped to bring a renewal or a reinvigoration to the Catholic Church. Instead they brought a resurgence of the Modernism condemned earlier in the century by Pope Saint Pius X. For the Modernists, the monolith of truth and morality, the Rock of Peter, unshakable for centuries, had to be made over into a progressive, pluralistic, existentialist society, with little firm foundation. Virtually everything had to change—the Mass and Sacraments, even the Rosary, the Stations of the Cross, and the Vulgate Bible—theology was no longer based on God's unchanging truth, but upon an Hegelian "dialogue"—morality has given way to convenience, with actions that would have drawn imprisonment or death now being praiseworthy or at least overlooked. A profound sense of silliness gripped a once conservative institution.
The Old Roman Catholic Church once again became of value to those who wanted to continue in the practice of the immemorial Catholic Faith, to those who wanted to be sure that they were attending the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, receiving the true Sacraments, and hearing the Gospel preached without error. To be sure, there were other conservative or traditionalist groups. Some of them still exist and do good. But others overreacted, pronouncing the See of Peter to be vacant, claiming the Pope to have deposed himself through heretical behavior. Still others were suckered by the Modernist notion that all of the problems could be made to go away through “dialogue.” The Old Roman Catholic Church strives to remain faithful to the Catholicism that came down through Rome from our Lord and His Apostles.
It is imperative, however, to understand that just as the mere claim to be “Catholic” or “Roman Catholic” guarantees nothing about someone's doctrinal orthodoxy, moral rectitude, or authentic worship; neither does the claim to be an “Old Roman Catholic.” Titles, names, and labels do not insure reality. In today's world, one has to ask questions and receive reasonable answers. The Old Roman Catholic Church, See of Cćr-Glow is not affiliated with those who would bend the moral law, compromise with falsehood, or offer false and distorted worship to Almighty God. Under God's law there can be no “gay marriage,” no ordination of women, no “clown Masses,” no Marxism, no Modernism, or anything else that has not come down to us from “the Father of lights, with whom there is no change, nor shadow of alteration.”
“This Old Roman Catholic Communion is one in matters of Faith and Morals, de fide, with the Church established by Jesus Christ. It embraces all such doctrine of the Apostolic See of Rome, and it condemns all heresies and other errors condemned by that same See. It accepts as Catholics those who share this doctrine and conduct their affairs accordingly.” (Constitution of the Old Roman Catholic Church, Article II)
[More about Old Roman Catholic
History and Belief can be found on the
Our Lady of the Rosary local website]
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